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How To Relieve Back Of Knee Pain

Treating Chronic Knee Pain Without Surgery

KNEE PAIN TREATMENT | Back of Knee Pain? Try Popliteus!

In my practice I see many patients struggling with chronic knee pain from osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the knees natural cushion of cartilage wears away due to stress, strain, age, inflammation, or injury. This leads to pain which can make it difficult to enjoy life to the fullest. Fortunately, many non-surgical treatments can help reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Used individually or in combination, these treatments can reduce pain, increase mobility, and improve quality of life.

The treatment options described below are based on guidelines from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons , the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons , and the American College of Rheumatology. For more information about these treatments and other treatment options for knee arthritis, please see the links at the bottom.

Low-Impact Aerobic Exercise ***

When we experience pain, the natural inclination is often to rest or resist moving the painful joint. In cases of knee osteoarthritis, however, exercise can actually make the knee feel better. Many find it surprising that low-impact exercises are part of the first-line treatment for knee arthritis and have some of the best supporting evidence for symptom relief.

Physical Therapy ***

*** Denotes Strong Evidence Recommendation by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Back Of The Knee Pain Caused By Bakers Cyst

A Bakers cyst will cause a lump at the back of your knee along with pain and discomfort.

The cyst that forms at the back of your knee is usually caused by arthritis or tearing a cartilage. This results in a buildup of fluid that causes a lump behind your knee.

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that the swelling behind your knee can be a cause of knee pain. You will probably find it difficult to flex the knee and your symptoms may be worse after physical activity. To treat a Bakers cyst, doctors usually drain the fluid to reduce the swelling and ease knee discomfort.8

Simple Home Exercises And Stretches Can Help Ease Some Common Types Of Knee Pain

If youve got sore knees, exercise might seem like the hardest thing you can do but its also one of the best.

“Exercise is one of the most important things you can do for knee pain,” says Dr. Lauren Elson, an instructor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School.

The right combination of strengthening and stretching exercises can relieve pain by helping to improve the way the joint moves and functions.

“The knee is often an innocent bystander between the hip and the foot. Knee pain is often caused by problems occurring above or below,” says Dr. Elson.

For example, weak hip muscles may cause more strain on the knee, intensifying your pain. Strengthening the muscles around the hip joint can help relieve it, says Dr. Elson.

In addition, knee pain is sometimes caused or aggravated by tight muscles around the knee, a problem that is often successfully addressed by stretching. If the muscles arent flexible, the knee joint sometimes wont move properly, says Dr. Elson.

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Early Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis

  • Pain – Aching back, neck, knees, and hips.
  • Tenderness Discomfort when pressing down on the joint or visible swelling of the joint
  • Joint stiffness Stiffness first thing in the morning or after sitting for a long period of time. Often people feel better after gentle exercise or going about their daily routine,
  • Abnormal sensations When cartilage, basically a shock absorber to help your joints move smoothly, wears down the bone-to-bone rubbing that occurs can cause abnormal sensations, or you can hear your bones cracking and clicking as they rub against each other.
  • Loss of range of motion Moving the affected areas of the body, such as fully bending and extending your leg, is not as easy as it once was

Hamstring Injury And Pain At The Back Of The Knee

8 Exercises To Relieve Pain In Achy Knees

An injury to your hamstring is a very common reason for sharp pains at the back of your knee.

Your hamstring starts at the bottom of your pelvic bone and crosses the back of the knee and ends at the lower leg. Doctors from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons say that your hamstring helps you bend your knee.

Hamstring injuries can result in pulling the hamstring muscle or completely tearing it. This can result in pain at the back of your leg below your knee. You may also notice bruising of your leg and may find it difficult to walk for a few weeks.3

Dr. Tyler Wheeler on WebMD says that you can prevent hamstring injuries by warming up before exercising. You should also strengthen your glutes which make up your buttocks to prevent extra strain on your hamstring muscles.

At the end of the article, you can find out how to treat a pulled or torn hamstring and help ease the pain behind your knee.

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Reducing Inflammation In The Body

OA has long been considered a wear-and-tear disease. Prolonged, excess pressure on the joints will cause inflammation.

But recent suggests that inflammation may be a risk factor rather than a consequence.

Obesity may increase inflammation levels in the body, which may lead to joint pain. Losing weight can reduce this inflammatory response.

One looked at data for people who lost an average of around 2 pounds a month over a range of 3 months to 2 years. In most studies, markers of inflammation in their bodies fell significantly.

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How Can A Bad Back Cause Knee Pain

So why can back issues cause knee pain? At first glance, they’re not related. Your back isn’t connected directly to your knees, after all.

A large part of the relationship between your back and your knees is how you hold yourself and how you walk. Everything from low back pain to tension in your shoulders can affect how you stand and walk. For example, If you’re trying to compensate for a herniated disc or chronic pain in your spine, you’ll start to walk differently in an attempt to relieve the pain. This is a common cause of joint pain in your knees, as you put more pressure on the ligaments and meniscus there. Additionally, even if you arent experiencing pain in your back, you may have problems with tightness or flexibility in your neck, back, hips, or upper legs, with all can contribute to posture problems and gait problems. Without the support usually offered by your back and spine when it is strong, with optimal flexibility and posture, your knees are left to do all the work. Unfortunately, that’s not what they’re made for.

When both are perfectly healthy, your back and knees work together to help you move. Your knee joint allows you range of motion. Your back helps keep you stable and absorbs some of the shock from your movements. When both are pain-free, and moving healthily, they support each other so they can both do their jobs easily.

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Fast Facts On Pain In The Back Of The Knee

  • There are many possible causes of this kind of pain.
  • Receiving early treatment for knee pain often prevents the injury from getting worse.
  • In some cases, the pain may be due to fatigue or not stretching before exercise.

It is important to work closely with a doctor to diagnose pain in the back of the knee, as some causes require long-term treatment to heal completely.

Some possible causes of pain in the back of the knee include the following.

What’s The Outlook For Teenagers With Pain In Their Knees

Pain In Back Of Knee – A Quick Fix

Most knee pain in teenagers can be managed with simple treatments. However, many soft-tissue tears and bone breaks require surgery. Most teenagers recover without long-term problems if they follow the recover plan provided by their healthcare providers. Because there are many causes of knee pain, be sure to ask your healthcare provider for specific information on long-term prognosis for your teen’s knee condition.

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Arthritis Of The Knee Causing Pain Behind Knee

Osteoarthritis is a common cause of pain behind the knee. Typically, arthritis causes bone spurs leading to inflammation at the back of the knee. Often, you feel tight and restricted in the movement of the knee joint.

Generally, the best form of treatment for knee arthritis is exercise and load management. Also, wearing a knee sleeve can help. Occasionally, we use injection therapy to help with arthritis such as cortisone or platelet-rich plasma.

Treatments For Pain In The Back Of Your Knee

Healthcare providers usually treat pain in the back of your knee based on the underlying cause of the pain or injury.

Rest, ice, compression, and elevation

If you have sudden, intense pain in the back of your knee, the doctor may recommend that you rest and apply ice to your knee. In some cases, your doctor may also ask you to elevate your leg while youre sitting down to help improve the blood flow in your leg.

Exercise and physical therapy

Some exercises can help build muscle and relieve pain in the back of your knee. It is important to work with your doctor or physical therapist to determine which exercises are right for you so you can avoid potential injury.

Lifestyle changes

Your doctor may ask you to make some lifestyle changes to help relieve pain in the back of your knee. This could include things like maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding activities like running or placing too much pressure on the knees.

Genicular nerve blocks

This medical treatment blocks pain signals between the knee and the brain, which offers relief from pain in the back of your knee. This is a nonsurgical option done by injecting an anesthetic into the affected area.

Peripheral nerve stimulation

This is a medical procedure where a surgeon puts electrodes and a battery pack near the nerves inside the knee. This creates an electrical current that tricks the body into turning off pain signals, which relieves pain in and around the knee.

Medication

Surgery

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How To Get Moving

Within the first 24 to 48 hours after your knee problem has started you should try to:

  • reduce your activities but move as much as your symptoms allow
  • put your leg in an elevated position, when resting
  • move your knee gently for 10 to 20 seconds every hour when you’re awake
  • avoid long periods on your feet

When using stairs it may help to:

  • lead with your good leg when going upstairs to reduce the strain on your knee
  • lead with your problem leg when going downstairs to reduce the strain on your knee
  • use a handrail when going up and downstairs

After 48 hours:

  • try to use your leg more – exercise really helps your knee and can relieve pain
  • do whatever you normally would and stay at, or return to work – this is important and is the best way to get better

It’s beneficial to do specific exercises that can help in your recovery. They may be challenging at the beginning so just do what you can and try to build it up over time.

Keeping active’s the single best thing you can do for your general health.

Being physically active can:

  • maintain your current levels of fitness even if you have to modify what you normally do, any activity is better than none
  • keep your other muscles and joints strong and flexible
  • prevent a recurrence of the problem

Avoid sports or heavy lifting until you have less discomfort and good movement. Remember to warm up fully before you start sporting activities.

Talk To Your Doctor About A Knee Brace

Sciatic Nerve Brace for Sciatica Back Leg Pain Relief Active Knee Wrap ...

Often a knee brace can help. Theres evidence to show that even a simple compression sleeve can decrease pain, says Dr. Day. These are a good way to start because you can get one at the drugstore.

You can also talk to your doctor about a more customized unloader brace. These take pressure off a portion of the joint. The brace thats right for you will depend on the severity and location of arthritis, whether primarily in the inner or outer side of the joint or in the kneecap.

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Exercises To Help Relieve Knee Arthritis Pain

The most common cause of knee arthritis is osteoarthritis, which becomes more common with increasing age. Over time, the cartilage in your knee joint wears away causing pain and tenderness while using your knee.

“The stronger your leg muscles are, the more they can help cushion your knee joint during impact and during exercise,” explains Dr. Brooks.

But, you’ve likely already noticed that some common leg-strengthening workouts, such as running or jumping, actually worsen your knee pain.

“High-impact weight-bearing exercises aren’t recommended for people whose knee pain is due to arthritis,” says Dr. Brooks.

Instead, Dr. Brooks recommends improving your knee mobility by stretching regularly especially your quadriceps, hamstring, and calf muscles and increasing your knee stability by performing low-impact leg strengthening exercises, such as:

  • Riding an exercise bike
  • Using an elliptical
  • Water-based workouts, such as walking, high-stepping, kickboarding or other exercises you can perform while holding on to the ledge of the pool

“Performing water-based exercise is a really good way for a person with arthritis in the knee to maintain his or her overall fitness,” explains Dr. Brooks. “The buoyancy effect of water can relieve the pressure on the joints, making conditioning and strengthening exercises much more comfortable.”

Is There A Best Pain Reliever For Osteoarthritis

ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Osteoarthritis affects tens of millions of Americans and is a leading cause of disability and reduced quality of life across the globe. Other than joint replacement surgery, there is no known cure for OA, and most treatments focus on relief of symptoms such as pain. Often, the first step is non-medication-based approaches such as physical therapy, exercise, and weight loss. Most patients, however, will eventually use pain relievers such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . Other kinds of medication, such as opioids, have also been tested as treatments for OA, and there is ongoing debate about what treatments are best.

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Whats Behind The Knee

The back of the knee has complicated anatomy.

As well as the knee joint sitting in the middle, the thigh and calf muscles pass through this area. Firstly, the large hamstring muscles start from the pelvis and pass across the knee to attach to the lower leg bones. In addition, the large calf muscles begin at the bottom part of the thigh and cross the knee to form the large Achilles tendon.

Finally, vital nerves and blood vessels cross the back of the knee to supply the lower leg and foot.

What Is Osteoarthritis Of The Knee

Back of knee pain/stiffness? Popliteus muscle tightness

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, and the knee is one of the most commonly affected joints.

Everyones joints go through a normal cycle of damage and repair during their lifetime, but sometimes the bodys process to repair our joints can cause changes in their shape or structure. When these changes happen in one or more of your joints, its known as osteoarthritis.

A joint is a part of the body where two or more bones meet in your knee, its the thigh and shin bones. There is also a small bone at the front of the knee called the patella or kneecap.

The ends of our bones are covered in a smooth and slippery surface, known as cartilage . This allows the bones to move against each other without friction, and protects your joint from stress.

Your knee also has two other rings of a different type of cartilage known as menisci or meniscus, which help to share weight evenly across your knee joint, and theres also cartilage underneath your kneecap.

Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage in your knee joint to thin and the surfaces of the joint to become rougher, which means that the knee doesnt move as smoothly as it should, and it might feel painful and stiff.

Osteoarthritis can affect anyone at any age, but its more common in women over 50.

Injuries or other joint problems, such as gout, can make people more likely to get osteoarthritis. The genes we inherit from our parents can also increase the risk of the condition developing.

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Exercise : Calf & Knee Stretch

For this exercise, youll need our midi foam roller and Stretching Strap.

  • Lie on your stomach, bend your affected leg back and keep your other leg straight.
  • Place the midi foam roller under your bent knee and the Stretching Strap around your forefoot.
  • Press your groin into the floor and pull the Stretching Strap so that you slowly bend your knee.
  • Youll feel a stretch from the top of your groin down the front of your thigh muscles.
  • Pull the Stretching Strap closer to increase the intensity of your stretch.
  • If you are very flexible you can pull your foot towards you with your hands.
  • Make sure to keep your groin against the floor.
  • Hold the stretch for 2 to 2.5 minutes.
  • Slowly straighten your leg and leave the position.
  • Repeat on the other knee if necessary.

Sprains Strains And Injuries

Sprains and strains happen when tissues in the knee become stretched by unusual or increased activity, or an awkward twist or trip.

PRICE, described above, should lead to a reduction in pain and improved movement within days, and a gradual improvement over the weeks to follow.

A sprain often resolves itself, but some problems can require more treatment. For example, an injury to the pad of tissue in the knee joint known as the meniscus may require surgery.

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